An icon of the northern Midwest, as well as the Northern reaches of North America; the Common Loon has many traits to be desired among even non-birders. Lake owners and lovers of this beautiful species are somewhat fanatic and extremely protective of these birds. Their echoing sounds early in the morning and late in the evening make many hearts sputter as their song reminds us of the many memories of traveling north each summer.
When it comes to Frogs in the Midwest, one of the most often heard and easiest to find is the Green Frog (Rana clamitans melanota). Like most frogs, from dusk to dawn lots of calling can be heard and if stumbled upon slowly, this common frog will sometimes stay put for nice looks. They have what I view as one of the more classic looks for a frog. One of the distinguishing marks on a Green Frog is the tympanum (round spot behind the eye) which is actually larger than the eye in males.
The power of the night’s sky is truly something to behold. For centuries, stars have been looked at as Gods, points of light to navigate by, and even shimmering lights to simply enjoy. If you’re like many of us, you don’t live hundreds of miles away from unnatural light sources where long exposure night photography is more attainable. If you have an opportunity to take a grand star trail image but long exposures are gathering too much light from nearby cities, this technique may be a good trick for you.